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tv   Newsmakers  CSPAN  May 19, 2013 6:00pm-6:31pm EDT

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then defense secretary chuck hagel addresses sexual assault in the military. and later, president obama giving the commencement address today at morehouse college in atlanta. >> we want to welcome back congressman chris van hollen. democrat of maryland, the top democrat on the budget committee. thank you for being here. two reporters with us to ask questions, daniel newhauser and daniel has they first question. >> i wanted to start with the irs. there has been a lot of talk about the scandal. i wonder if you think the firing of certain irs officials is enough to appease the american public or if there is a larger role of congressional oversight. >> i am glad the president acted swiftly to ask for the resignation.-- the rna acommsio.
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we have to take the facts wherever they lead us.that is why congress is having hearings and will continue to have hearings into this issue. it look, the was clearly unacceptable. we need to get to the bottom of it. we need to recognize that after the citizens united case, you had a doubling of applicationsof fours 45014 c -- 501(c) (4) taxtus -- 501(c) status. there are many groups trying to get this kind of tax status to conduct political activities without disclosing their donors. that is why the irs is having a tough time. they have to go through all these applications.and decide whether the main purpose of an organization is social welfare or whether the main purpose is political and hiding donors. clearly, they went about it in totally the wrong way, but we need to apply the law uniformly.
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in my view, if you require disclosure of donors for people participating in clinical activities, you would eliminate the incentive a lot of these groups have to try to get this particular kind of status, whether on the right or on the left. >> being in the minority in the house, however, how do you push this kind of legislation, as you have tried before with the disclose act, in a way that would make republicans want to take it up? >> i think the american people are clear on this issue. they have been on every public -- in every public survey i have seen, whether they are republicans, democrats, or independence. -- independents. they believe the voters have a right to know who is bankrolling the political campaign activities. that is all we're asking for, transparency. we believe transparency leads to greater accountability. if groups engage in political activities who have formed these kinds of organizations have to disclose, you not have this--
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you would not have this incentive. there are issues with respect to the different irs organizations. 501(c)(4), 527's. if you had disclosure in transparency, you would take away the incentives for a lot of groups to try to game the system. the irs should not be in this business ultimately. >> the proliferation of scandals is certainly changing the narrative on the hill the last few days. it does not appear this was going to be crippling to the white house. how do you think this affects the broader agenda which is stumbling a bit. how does this play out going forward in terms of the president being able to accomplish a budget deal? >> i hope it will not distract us from some of the other big issues facing the country. there is an important role of congressional oversight of these the irs.
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itsress should do oversight job. it should do it to get the facts rather than spin fiction out of some of these things. we need to get to the bottom of should not mean that we do not work on jobs and the economy and on the budget issues. just this week, we the democrats in the house tried to go to conference on a budget. we asked the speaker of the house to appoint conferees so we could get on with this business. s asked for this for the eighth time. you saw republican senators saying it was "insane"for republicans, who called for getting a budget done, to now be the ones blocking progress on a budget. so, let's get on with that. we should be working on that to help replace the sequester, do do -- to do tax reform. you cannot have a discussion if you refuse to talk. >> on the budget, there's that
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paul ryan said -- paul ryan said recently there was not much point going to conference until we get closer to the debt limit deadline, when you guys will be forced to reach some kind of compromise, which is an idea i'm a little bit sympathetic to. what do you think you guys could accomplish if you met in conference right now? you are very far apart. there does not seem to be any sign of compromise on either side.not that democrats have not moved somewhat on entitlements, certainly, but in terms of moving beyond the point that we now have arrived at, how does the conference felt that -- help that? >> a couple of things. ,hen you are in a public forum it increases the pressure to try and things done. remember, the republicans in the house made this their rallying cry for the last three years. they complained the senate did not have a budget. they complained no budget, no pay. guess what? we don't have a budget right now.
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the house has a budget, the senate has a budget, but there is no federal budget. members are not getting paid. they complain to the president's budget was late, yet our own statute law requires them to commit action by april, every day that goes by where they refuse to, they are in-- refuse to appoint conferees, they are in violation of that law. so, look, i think that forcing people to get together in the light of day is the way to go.i would say, unfortunately, the only news is we keep hearings. from our republican colleagues you cannot go to conference until the chairman of the senate budget committee start working things out. guess what? they are not doing that. that is why senator murray has called for the eighth time to go i guess thece. question for republican colleagues is do you want to do
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this behind closed doors -- for republican colleagues is, do you want to do this behind closed doors? you said you do not want to. where do you want to do it? in the light of day?a needs to be done where the american people -- it needs to be done where the american people can participate in the conversation. >> house republicans had a meeting this past week or-- where they were trying to decide what they would like to extract from democrats in exchange for a debt limit increase. a lot of ideas came out, from repealing the health care lot to -- repealing obamas health care law to tax reform to reforms included in the ryan budget. do you see any of these things as a viable trade-off for increasing the limit? >> you described accurately what the republicans were doing. let's hear what they were saying. what will they extract from democrats in order to agree that the united states will pay its bills on time? right? that is what it means to lift the debt limit. we have to pay our bills as a country. -- we did not pay our bills, it
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getting up one day and saying, you know what, i will pay my mortgage on my house, but i'm not going to pay my car bills. we have to pay all of our bills. republicans are going to say will only support.-- support the idea the united states will pay its bills and will live up to its full faith and credit if the democrats agreed to somehow -- somehow agreed to accept the budget the way the republicans want it is nonsense. we will only agreed to have the united states pay its bills if you agree to our plan to give millionaires a tax break. we will only agreed to have the united states pay its bills if you agree to do something else in the republican budget. that is not happening. the president has been very clear. we are not going to negotiate over the principle of whether the united states become a dead -- becomes a deadbeat nation or not. we pay our bills on time. all theshould address
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issues. we should address them in the context of a budget conference i'm a which is the forum for dealing with the budget, for dealing with tax reform, and, for whatever reason, the republicans don't want to do it through the regular order, if even though they spent the last three years saying they did want to do it through the regular order. so, i do not blame people for being confused.but the idea that you will hold the full faith and credit of united states hostage for a particular -- to extract concessions on a particular budget issue is not something that is going to is the equivalent of political blackmail. i do not think the american people will accept that. >> it worked for them in the last go around.they extracted the no budget no pay act to that's something democrats said they were not going to deal, but they did deal when it came to that. why do you think it will be different this time?line on -- that you will hold the line on this? >> on the no budget/no pay,
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let's be clear. there is a house budget and the senate budget but no federal budget and people are still getting paid. it did not work in terms of accomplishing the goal of getting the is kind of meaningless to have a house budget and the senate budget. that is why we're saying let's get together and get one budget. if you are a business, you have one partner with one budget and another, that will not help. we need to do that. it is in the context of the budget negotiations that we should deal with those issues. we are more than prepared to do that. you cannot resolve them if you refuse to meet. >> let's say republicans do cave on the debt limit and decide they're going to do the responsible thing and raised-- raise the debt limit without amending anything else. -- without demanding anything else. the deficit is falling dramatically. are we done? are we finished with deficit- reduction? >> we're not done with long-term deficit reduction. this is where there has been a some isconfusion.
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intentional in this debate. >> where is the pressure for it? does president obama pursue in -- continue to pursue entitlement reform for its own sake, without republicans saying we need to have entitlement reform? >> there are two things. republicans would like to work on tax reform. secondly, republicans used to agree with democrats that the sequester was a bad idea, that it was a bad idea because it made a huge disruption in a lot -- it created a huge disruption in a lot of important government functions, including the fence. , huge disruptions elsewhere. we saw one very visible manifestation of that with the air what situation. in my view, congress should not deal with this on an ad hoc basis, on a piecemeal basis. we should deal with the overall issue. , going tois, i think
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be increasing pressure to deal with the sequester. just this week, secretary habel announced furloughs for -- secretary hagel announced furloughs for the defense department. that is over 600,000 civilian d.o.d. employees starting in july will be furloughed.the secretary pointed out that this is going to have a very negative effect on our military readiness. you have senators like senator mccain and senator graham, who have made the point that this is very disruptive to our national security. enough would hope that signatures on the republican side, enough republicans would be willing to replace the sequester in a way that preserves our national security and preserves important -- inments in other health research at the national institutes of health and other essential functions. and that is what we should be doing in the budget conference. that is exactly what the budget
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conference is for.but we could not get an -- could not get agreement on our proposal to go to conference this week. have been denied the opportunity to vote four times to replace the sequester in the house. >> republicans do see this as a new rallying cry for them, something that would be a positive thing that would be-- would theoretically reduce the deficit and prove the economy. is this a path forward? do you think democrats would be willing to consider tax reform in a way that lower rates if-- lowered rates if there were a pastor also getting revenues out of it? >> on tax reform, there are two pieces to it, as you know. one is corporate tax reform and the other is individual tax reform. on corporate tax reform, i think everybody agrees that we should look for a way to reduce the rate by broadening the base. the united states corporate tax rate is higher -- the top rate
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is higher than most countries. but the average taxes actually -- paid by a lot of u.s. corporations middling because they get so many deductions, but those distractions -- deductions are distributed differently depending on what kind of business you are in. we should reform that. we should also look at the individual tax code. we want to see our republican colleagues plans. for years now, they have been saying that they have this plan to reduce the top rate that does not increase the deficit. but they have not put it on paper. for three years -- show us your plan. last december, the speaker said he had a plan to raise $800 billion by eliminating tax breaks which he said could be done by eliminating breaks for high income people. let's see your plan. again, we keep hearing this talk. we heard talk about their desire to go to conference. now they do not want to go to conference on the budget.
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they keep talking about trying to get something done in tax plan on the table. they keep talking about having an alternative health care plan. it used to be that they were going to replace obamacare. this week we voted to get rid of -- for the 38th time in the house to get rid of obamacare, which is not going to happen. and there is no replacement. either way, if you actually repealed obamacare, their claim of a balanced budget would be absolutely destroyed. it would be totally out of balance. they cannot have it both ways.>> we have about 10 minutes left. on the affordable care act, what are your concerns going forward with the roll out? they are consumed right now with the irs.the benghazi attack, etc. there have been critics especially on the democratic side that this is not going well >> i think it is way premature to suggest that it is not going well. i think what people want to do
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is make sure that the administration is prepared to roll things out. because you get to begin to apply for these healthcare exchanges, supermarkets for affordable health insurance, starting in october, and then it kicks in next year. there is obviously a lot of work in making sure you set all of that. i think the end result will be a -- will be more people will get access to affordable health care, but there are obviously a lot of things that be done to make sure they are ready, and i think the administration is working very hard to get to that point. >> are you confident they will be ready? >> i am confident they're working really hard to do it. the challenge is that a lot of states with republican governors decided they did not want to help. they did not want to be partners in setting up these exchanges. which means that, in all those states, the federal government will come in and help set up the exchange. it's kind of ironic. the public and governors said they do not want the federal government participating, yet
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by refusing to participate, it means the federal government will be setting up the exchanges in those states. ,hereas in my state of maryland the state is taking on the major responsibility for setting up the exchange. >> can i go back to sequestration quickly? you said you are not interested in any kind of smallbore fixes to it. congress artie passed that line when they passed -- congress already passed that line when they passed the faa fix. do you think the president should veto any further small- the -- small-bore fixes to sequestration? >> i think the president should take the position he stated. we need to deal with this on a comprehensive basis. i do think it is a mistake for congress to try to deal with this piecemeal. congress rushed to take care of folks at the airports, including members of congress who are rushing out of doing so, they left behind kids on head start who are losing their
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services, seniors who get meals on wheels, researchers who are doing important work in the discovering treatments and cures for cancer and other diseases. so, it does not make sense to me just to take the issue that happens to pop up when there are all sorts of other problems resulting from the sequester, including the large-scale problem, which is that there are about 100,000 fewer jobs that will be created by the hundreds of thousands -- according to cbo, 750,000 jobs -- created by the end of the year if the sequester stays in place. themve artie lost many of because the snowquester has been a place for a good part of this year. that is counterproductive when you have an economy that is still in slow growth mode. it is much better to deal with this comprehensively.which is another reason we should get to conference on the budget right away. yemen despite the president's position, he accepted the faa
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the presidentite 's position -- he accepted the faa fix. do you think he should strike any of these further fixes done if they come up? >> the answer is yes. i think it is much better to deal with this all at once. the president has been crystal clear that when it comes to the major pieces of the sequester, defense and economic events, that he would veto any effort to try to undo one and not the other. this may become relevant in the weeks ahead. i believe he may see another effort from republicans to simply say we are going to fix the defense sequester but leave in place the other sequester. if you look at the appropriations bill, you're-- you are seeing the markup in defense areas, military construction, veterans. they are marking these up to very high levels which means they are going to absolutely got
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-- gut and devastate important investments in education, science and research, and in some of our infrastructure -- transportation infrastructure, new starts. i think the president has been clear on that. it may well be that that issue comes to a boil before we get to the debt ceiling and before we get to the end of the fiscal obviously, that day, the end of the fiscal year is the final backstop. something has to happen before then. >> i just want to be clear. yes, the president should veto? >> i think the president should be. clear that he does not release -- should be very clear that he does not release portions of the sequester. he has been clear that he would veto it. i support that decision. >> let me ask you a question about your personal future. there was an article not long
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ago titled the next speaker of the that right? [laughter] >> as you know, we have plenty to do right now, right here. so, i am focused on trying to get this budget thank you working. that is really my emphasis. the futurehat brings? first of all, nancy pelosi is doing a terrific job as the democratic leader. and i fully support her in that capacity. and then, of course, we are working hard to try to win back the majority in the house. we will try and make that happen.because right now in the house, the power of the majority is -- as all of you know is the power to decide what gets voted on. if we were in the majority, we could have had a vote on our proposal to replace the sequester.
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tried to have a vote four times, but were denied that opportunity. we're working hard to try to get that back. >> one more budget question. the president said he will not negotiate over the debt limit. he says his debt reduction plan is nonnegotiable. it is his bottom-line offer. what is to talk about, going back to the question of what good would would a budget conference do? the president does not seem to want to negotiate over any of this stuff. >> let's distinguish between the president's budget proposal and the house and senate democratic proposal. one of the things the president did and it created a lot of pushback from democrats -- and i myself have concerns with aspects of the president's budget -- is he put forward a budget in the nature of a compromise from the beginning. what these budgets often are our
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-- are a statement of what one party would do if they could have everything their way. the house republican budget is just a blueprint for a very radical republican approach to the economy.huge cuts in investments and changing the nature of medicare and big tax cuts. that is their statement. the house democratic statement includes a balanced approach to the budget deficit. some targeted cuts and revenue. the president put in his budget ideas the speaker of the house republican john boehner had proposed. he submitted his budget in the nature of compromise from the beginning. so much from the nature of compromise that the republican budget does not include the very ideas that speaker boehner put in on things like chained cpi and -- chain cpi and other things. president has gone such a long way that it is creating
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concern for democrats. the point is that republicans need to show a little reciprocity. my concern is the reason they refuse to go to conference is two things. one, that people will see in the light of day the stark differences between our approaches. and number two, they don't want a compromise, and if they ever did compromise, speaker -- speaker boehner could not get the compromise through his own party in the house. that's why you say, ok, where is the room to move forward? i think there is room. the best way to put pressure on everyone to get to middle ground is to go to conference, require people to have this conversation in front of the american people, which is what republicans used to say they were for. but now they apparently want to do it behind closed doors, which, by the way, is not happening, despite the fact that they say that is what is happening. >> we have a couple more the big news in the house -- the house
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immigration working group came to an agreement in principle on comprehensive immigration reform. have you been told what is in this bill and how that will progress in the house? what do you think the past -- passed for this bill through the house is? how can it pass? >> i have a pretty good idea of the elements of the discussions in the house. peopleindicated, i think are working in good faith to finalize something. i should also stress it is not final yet. there is no final house agreement. meanwhile, we have legislation coming through the senate. the senate judiciary is actively marking up that proposal, which i support, which has compromises in it. and we are very hopeful that that senate bill will come over to the house and that the best case scenario would be for speaker boehner to allow us to have an up or down vote on the bill that comes out of the senate with bipartisan support. if he does not want to do that,
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then at the very least, he should make sure it goes through the house assess in an expedited manner -- the house process in an expedited manner, that people do not drag this out in order to kill it. we should have a full up or down where thehe house. house can work its will. we need to get a majority in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.i know if the speaker put up the senate bill for a vote, we would get that. one way or another, we've got to get to that result. >> do you think the only way to pass the immigration bill is to do it without a majority of republicans on board? >> as i listen to ourhouse republican colleagues, my sense is that the majority are against comprehensive immigration reform. the majority are against the senate gang of eight proposal, which really reflects the compromises necessary to get this done. so, fast forwarding, i think at the end of the day, you're going
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to have to have a vote in the full house, which may not have a majority of the republicans, but reflects the majority view of the united states of america. >> robertson chris van hollen, thanks for being our "newsmaker ." "newsmakers" continues. lori, let me begin with you on the budget negotiations. house passed a budget. the senate passed a budget. we just heard from the top democrat of the budget committee that they want to go to conference. what is happening behind the scenes? >> nothing much is happening behind the scenes. democrats want to go to conference because they want a forum where they can argue that the president the compromise on -- has this compromise on the table. republicans have gone nowhere, moved off this budget that is so -- this ryan budget that is so objectionable to them. they want a public forum to hammer away at the republicans. republicans are saying we do not
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see a path to compromise therefore we do not want toset up this public forum that has about as much chance of succeeding as the supercommittee did a couple of years ago. at this point, everything seems to be at a stall. ,ne of the interesting things the debt limit seems to be -- the debt limit seems to be receding further and further into the future as a pressure point, but we've got the end of the fiscal year coming up and we've got to resolve the issue of the sequester going into 2014. and that could be the moment, that september 13 deadline, when everybody has to figure out, ok, what are we going to do about this mess? >> and what does it mean, that deadline? could it be enough pressure for a grand bargain? what could potentially come out of that? the grand bargain caucus is -- is shrinking rapidly on the hill, i think. if you are not looking at
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default, if you're looking at a government shutdown, i think it is a different dynamic and the question becomes, how much are we going to spend? are we going to scale back the sequester? i cannot see republicans wanting to bring taxes into the discussion unless they have been able to push the issue of tax reform further down the road. we have these deadlines in the fall, but it all turns into mush and we don't accomplish very much. >> in the meantime, sequestration, for this year, prevails. what is going to happen? what do you hear from the congressman about what is going to happen on sequestration for 2013 and heading into 2014? >> i thought it was interesting that he did not endorse the word "veto," but he endorsed the concept of a veto. he said that he does not want any more of these smallbore fixes like they did for faa. but they already open that door.
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once they did, it is hard to deny any of these groups, if they have a lobby that is powerful enough coming in and saying we are feeling this pain here and here, let's deal with it. it was interesting that he said the main two pillars of the main two pillars of sequester, defense, discretionary cuts, the same for democrats, should be left intact unless they are both dealt with together. ,t is really hard to envision the way things have been going, any comprehensive solution to anything these days. if everybody feels the way that the congressman does, you have got to think they will find a way once the pain gets so bad that they cannot politically sustain it. >> what do you suspect they might hear from the pentagon on the republican side.


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